Sunday, January 29, 2012

Curing US HealthCare… Coding reform and payment reform go hand in hand

This week I took part in the Care Innovations Summit in Washington DC. On Wednesday I was at the Kaiser Permanente Center For Total Health for a pre-Summit networking day. It was great to work with Danielle Cass and Ted Eytan from Kaiser to facilitate a day long event that I heard people describe as "The Best Networking Day. Ever"

The day was a mix of networking exercises, fireside chats with people that are shaping the future of health care and panel discussions that really made people think. If you get chance to spend time with Jack Cochran, MD, Executive Director, The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente grab the opportunity. He has a life history that would make a great movie and his views on the future of health care and how to improve health are worth listening to and he takes his energy and relentlessly applies it to achieving that aim of better care. 

Joe Smith, MD, PhD, Chief Medical and Science Officer, The West Wireless Health Institute is equally vocal about improving our health care system. While Joe didn't get on stage at the Summit itself, he was one various panel discussions at the pre-summit. You really need to listen to his ideas. West Wireless Health Institute is doing great things to promote new approaches to health care. Joe is one of the people shaping the future. 

The themes that kept surfacing at the pre-networking event where two fold: Coding Reform and Payment reform. The two need to go hand in hand. As the industry is about to go through a transition that multiplies the number of CPT codes in use complexity is going to try to drive another nail in the coffin of transparency. We can't let this complexity win.  If we are not careful we will become so focused on diagnosing exactly what is wrong with a patient that we will forget that it would have been better to have avoided the patient having to come in for a diagnosis in the first place. 

If CPT Coding stays focused on minutely identifying an action or condition it risks missing the big picture and enabling preventative actions by physicians. Yet prevention is the big win in healthcare. It is something that has been lost in the Pay for Volume model that is the lot of the vast majority of US Health Care - with certain notable exceptions - like Kaiser Permanente.

When I look back at this week I wish Daniel Palistrant (of Sermo and Par8o) had been at the pre-networking event. His would have been an interesting voice to add to the discussion. He has a provocative article on his blog this week that complimented the CPT and Payment reform discussion. Check out his latest blog post:

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